In ourÂ Talking Handicapping group on Facebook, we learn about handicapping through the use of polls. It has been very instructive so I’ve decided to expand itÂ a bit. This particular survey is aboutÂ What is Important to the Handicapper. See how you fit with these responses.
The Short Version:
- Horse players see racing as a big challenge (i.e. not about the money).
- Horse players care about winning, despite not being all about the money.
- Horse players admit that they need help with their handicapping.
- Horse players seem unsure of what “high-tech” handicapping means.
- Horse playersÂ are interested in self-improvement.
- Horse players areÂ not afraid of complex systems.
- Horse playersÂ will pay for good handicapping materials.
- Horse players admit to being tired of losing.
94% of players said that they are involved in racing because it is a challenge.Â Indeed, it is the greatest of intellectual challenges.
The next thing we see is that 92% of players say that “Winning is Very Important to Me.” At first this seems to be a contradiction to the first question, but what if we put it into a complete sentence?
“Horse racing is a great challenge and winning isÂ how we measure our success.”
This question states pretty clear what is happening. The accepted point of view is that around 1% of the horse playing public wins on a regular basis. However, I would consider that among the more astute players (such as the ones in our Facebook group) this figure is probably at least double or even triple.
Simply put, these guysÂ (and a couple of ladies) work hard enough to learn more and (logically), their results improve. Still, there are probably aÂ few that really don’t care. (Truthfully, I salute them for their honesty.)
Most feel they could benefit fromÂ help in learning to handicap better. Only 2% adamantly say that they need no help.
This question would indicate to me that many players are not exactly sure what being a high-tech handicapper means. I found this response very interesting. Begs the question, “What is a high-tech handicapper anyway?”
I think this is a very telling question but not for the obvious reason.
This one surprised me because I thought most people would buy just about every book that came out. Then I realized that I messed up the question by using the word “every.” Horseplayers, being an honest breed, spent extra time on this question, probably agonizing over that word.
In my experience, horse players are typicallyÂ very conscious of subtleties, whether it be in analyzing data or listening to what someone says.Â Often, on a podcast, I will stand on my tongue and say something that is obviously wrong. It is very rare that I do not hear about such a mistake. (In a nice way, of course.)
Being a purveyor of handicapping materials, I was obviously pleased with this one. WAIT! YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT? LOL
Seriously, to me this means that almost all players are interested in improvement. Again, it is the nature of the horse player.
In my long years of experience in the horse racing business (full-time since 1990), I have actually found this to be true in other areas of their lives as well.Â Over the years I’ve had pretty serious discussions in many areas beyond horse handicapping.Â Of course, computer programming, spreadsheets and other tech-related topics, but also subjects like hypnotherapy, speed reading and productivity (areas of personal expertise for me).
This was the question that surprised me the most. I did not realize how many people would not shy away fromÂ complex handicapping ideas.
For me, this belief stemmed from a lecture I heard years ago when a learned person said that “young people today” want an easy-but-powerful system for everything. Of course, IÂ completely missed the part part aboutÂ young people.
Since most handicappers are not so young, we’reÂ more experienced and realize that powerful systems are usually not all that simple. We’ve learned that there is no “free lunch.” As I wrote in an email to our list a few weeks back, being reality-based is a requirement for winning.
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